Nikon compatible flash for on/off camera & a lighting scenario?

dissentdissent Posts: 1,290Member
edited October 2014 in Nikon Flashes
Did not want to hijack the SB-500 thread with this, so ...

I'm planning to start playing around with off-camera flash, using Odin triggers. I have a SB-700 now, and would like to get a second flash - SB-700 value, or something less expensive, if possible. Was looking at some Metz flashes; what other suggestions do you have that have demonstrated track records for performance and compatibility with my DX kit (D7100 or D7000) as radio triggered flash and also for on-camera (e.g. bounce) use? I'm taking some of my own medicine from skyeye's earlier thread on this subject and plowing through the Strobist Lighting 101 and related links. So far Strobist seems to be stuck on Lumopro flashes that don't seem to have that great a range of compatibility or functions as compared to the SB-700. Perhaps I am misreading the information. At any rate, comments and suggestions welcome.
Post edited by dissent on
- Ian . . . [D7000, D7100; Nikon glass: 35 f1.8, 85 f1.8, 70-300 VR, 105 f2.8 VR, 12-24 f4; 16-85 VR, 300 f4D, 14E-II TC, SB-400, SB-700 . . . and still plenty of ignorance]
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  • spraynprayspraynpray Posts: 6,246Moderator
    Yes, David Hobby does like the Lumopro, and he also uses manual flash pretty much all the time. I am trying to divorce myself from using TTL because I am finding manual set-ups reduce my post processing dramatically, allowing me to do more extensive batch processing. Last job my partner and I did, I finished post of my 100 in an hour, he took all day - manual versus TTL. I guess I am saying try nice cheap Yongnuo's in manual and fergit CLS, but keep your SB for on camera when it's essential.

    Just my humble opinion of course Ian.
    Always learning.
  • dissentdissent Posts: 1,290Member
    I am a flash baby, Andrew. Everything is pretty much new and interesting to me. I appreciate your input and perspective.
    - Ian . . . [D7000, D7100; Nikon glass: 35 f1.8, 85 f1.8, 70-300 VR, 105 f2.8 VR, 12-24 f4; 16-85 VR, 300 f4D, 14E-II TC, SB-400, SB-700 . . . and still plenty of ignorance]
  • spraynprayspraynpray Posts: 6,246Moderator
    To be honest Ian, I believe the best way to learn is the hard way. That goes for starting with manual mode when learning the camera as well as learning the flash in my opinion. I find having manual flash straight in your mind gives you a foundation to stand on so when you want to play with TTL, you know how to absolutely get the shot if TTL won't get it or won't get it consistently. I use TTL a lot for weddings as fill flash at two stops under ambient in harsh light and that works fine but if the flashes are on stands, I go manual.

    You'll pick it up really quick I'm sure!
    Always learning.
  • dissentdissent Posts: 1,290Member
    Well, pulled the trigger on a pair of light stands with umbrellas to mount on them (oh, so that's what a "brolly" is). Then I went for a Lumopro LP180 manual flash - looks like a dead simple interface, mostly just power levels. I was getting some contradictory feedback from my 'Net searching (imagine that!) on whether Yongnuo's would trigger properly on the Odin's; found at least one source claiming the Lumopro worked "flawlessly" - we'll see. At least my SB-700 works fine on both triggers.

    I've got some shooting to do with this kit next weekend. It'll be in an open atrium area at a local hotel, so no close walls or ceiling for bounce flash. Really glad I went for the umbrellas at this point. I expect to have some modest ambient light (especially if it's a sunny day) as well. So will be shooting informal groups of people. Guess I'll just try to blast in as many soft photons on the subjects as I can and see what I get. Should be interesting.
    - Ian . . . [D7000, D7100; Nikon glass: 35 f1.8, 85 f1.8, 70-300 VR, 105 f2.8 VR, 12-24 f4; 16-85 VR, 300 f4D, 14E-II TC, SB-400, SB-700 . . . and still plenty of ignorance]
  • PistnbrokePistnbroke Posts: 2,061Member
    YN 565ex YN 458 beware the 560 mk2 unless you want a pure slave its not ittl but cheap and powerfull
  • The YN565ex works perfect for me, manual, iTTL, but I also have the Yongnuo triggers, don't know if they work with Odin. I also have a YN560 for ages (not the 2 version), as you say, it is manual and powerfull, I just put it where I want and when it sees some flash, it goes off, never failed me, always handy and manual is not bad in this case.
    Those who say it can't be done, should not interrupt those doing it!
  • Bokeh_HunterBokeh_Hunter Posts: 234Member
    I just got a Lumopro LP180 and ran it through the Odins and Strato II and it works perfect. It is 100% manual though and can only be controlled from the flash. The Odin (or any other) will not controol it, just fire it. Almost every single trigger system will work with any flash to trigger it. Depending on the flash and Trigger system, the difference is if you can change settings remotely or if you have to walk over to the flash to do it.

    Phottix Mitros or Mitros+ are fantastic flashes. I have been using them along side my SB-900s for almost a year and they have not skipped a beat. Yongnuo seems to be a good cheap option, but most everyone I talk to says you get what you pay for and depending on how much use one puts them through, issues arise.

    I have used Metz before the newest versions, seem good but for the prices, one should just go with Nikon.

    The Lumopro LP180 I picked up 2nd hand, primarily for my Fuji X100 as that system works best with manual flash. It is a very nice, very simple, straight forward flash, powerful, built really well. It is going to live in my daily bag with the X100 so it is going to get the snot beat out of it - we will see how it holds up.
    •Formerly TTJ•
  • dissentdissent Posts: 1,290Member
    Wow, that Lumopro LP180 is one bright flash at full power.

    This could be fun! Or disaster; I'm a little nervous.

    OK, now I wonder if I can stretch this thread to my lighting location conundrum. I'll be shooting some pics for family at a hotel in a semi-enclosed atrium area. Expecting 30-40 people at a U-shaped table configuration, with the guest of honor in the center of the U. My delusion is to light this with the ambient diffused daylight in the atrium in addition to my two speedlights/umbrellas set up in a yet to be determined configuration. I don't know the full decorating scheme yet, but there are no walls or ceiling nearby to make use of for bounce.

    Has anyone lit something like this before? What recommendations do any of you have?
    - Ian . . . [D7000, D7100; Nikon glass: 35 f1.8, 85 f1.8, 70-300 VR, 105 f2.8 VR, 12-24 f4; 16-85 VR, 300 f4D, 14E-II TC, SB-400, SB-700 . . . and still plenty of ignorance]
  • spraynprayspraynpray Posts: 6,246Moderator
    Tricky, but in the absence of a good ceiling, I've had success with a speedlight in a decent size softbox on a pole pointed by an assistant.
    Always learning.
  • Bokeh_HunterBokeh_Hunter Posts: 234Member
    edited October 2014
    The Lumopro LP180 is really nice - basically a SB-800/9x0 power but all manual. If you are use to the SB-700s then yes, it is much brighter than those for sure.

    You are going to be at F11 for a group like that. Shutter will be at 1/60th so the only option you really have is the ISO to adjust settings. Crank the ISO to 800, that will essentially make your flashes 4x brighter and work back down (iso) from there. (Instead of adjusting the shutter or aperture.) The ambient light hopefully isn't a directional or mainly front/top lighting the subjects. That leaves two flashes. If it were me, and you have the subject in the center, I would try to make them brighter than the rest or focus the lights on them and let the spread of the beams fill everyone else.

    That is real general - it is very difficult to suggest much on what you have given. If you draw a basic floor plan, and with where people will be standing, that would help. There would be so many elements at play there that more detail is needed to offer much help.
    Post edited by Bokeh_Hunter on
    •Formerly TTJ•
  • dissentdissent Posts: 1,290Member
    Perhaps "nervous" wasn't quite the right word ... I think "underprepared" fits my sentiments more closely.

    Thanks for the suggestions gents. I'm going to have to run this as a solo operation; the softboxes look like fine options, but, if I use them, I going to try to see what i can get with the umbrellas I have now. I'm thinking that perhaps I can adjust the flash position in the umbrella to get a wide spread from each flash, then just put both umbrellas near a corner of the atrium space and point them towards points that are near but separated by about equal distances from the center of the U. I'm guessing this might give me some decent, though relatively flat, light in the center area - ignorance is bliss, so I'll find out when I set up. I plan to run the umbrellas as white reflectives rather than shoot throughs to try to maximize the light output - again (my) ignorance is bliss.

    I had originally planned to place the speedlights at opposite corners facing the U-shaped seating area, but then I started reading some about cross lighting and that seemed like much less of a good idea.

    I agree that a sketch would have helped you, but at this point I think the seating layout is not yet completely determined, and the planned decorations may well mean I'll have to be flexible ... . Plus I'll have to keep the lights out of the way so they aren't getting bumped into.

    See? "Underprepared"; cocky and underprepared.
    - Ian . . . [D7000, D7100; Nikon glass: 35 f1.8, 85 f1.8, 70-300 VR, 105 f2.8 VR, 12-24 f4; 16-85 VR, 300 f4D, 14E-II TC, SB-400, SB-700 . . . and still plenty of ignorance]
  • Bokeh_HunterBokeh_Hunter Posts: 234Member
    Bouncing the light out of an umbrella is a good idea. If you had silver ones that would be best as they are a bit brighter, but if not, white will work fine. Since you don't have a ceiling to speak of, depending on the floor, you can tilt them down a bit and bounce some light as a bottom fill as well. Better use than to allow the light to just uselessly spill upward. If there are tables, white table cloths work great to bounce off of. Bouncing light off of stuff is a good way to get more light into spots. Be mindful that it can also lead to weird hues on people. If you can use a white balance card or device as a index of the color, that will go a long way to help in editing.

    PitchBlack mentioned a great softbox - I just can't justify in my mind spending $300 on one. They are really nice though.

    I have a bunch of these instead of soft boxes for events. and a couple of these Tri-flash holders. Hell of a lot cheaper than lastolite products and actually for large rooms, I prefer the umbrella softboxes as they spill more light everywhere. Portraits I prefer softboxes though.
    •Formerly TTJ•
  • dissentdissent Posts: 1,290Member
    Final report of event shoot = "bummer". I can definitely relate to some of the issues raised in tcole's wedding shoot thread. Mine was a family event, and as such I ended up doing gofer duty for several things instead of setting up and doing test shots of my planned lighting rig. So it ran late and I didn't use the umbrellas. Very frustrating. There was a modest amount of ambient light in the atrium area from the overhead windows, but more light still would have helped greatly. Struggled to get faster shutter speeds with my 105 on one body and my 16-85 (usually with on-camera flash and a Rogue Flashbender) on the other body. Got some decent shots, but I was hoping for better. Even with the flash it seemed like TTL was giving me slow shutter speeds on several occasions. Clearly gonna need more practice.

    Got some fun outdoor soccer pics of some of my younger relatives, so the weekend wasn't a total (relative) downer.
    - Ian . . . [D7000, D7100; Nikon glass: 35 f1.8, 85 f1.8, 70-300 VR, 105 f2.8 VR, 12-24 f4; 16-85 VR, 300 f4D, 14E-II TC, SB-400, SB-700 . . . and still plenty of ignorance]
  • Bokeh_HunterBokeh_Hunter Posts: 234Member
    Event shooting is not easy and not easy to "practice" at. In large venues (and almost any venue) lighting is always an issue. A lot of it is knowing your camera's settings and the best settings to use in any situation. I still struggle many times. A lot of that is just experience.

    One thing to keep in mind, if you are shooting in "auto" mode with TTL, the flash sync will be at 1/60th. Front curtain will freeze action in front of you, but many times the background will go dark. Rear curtain will help fill the background in, but you may see movement. There is a place for each but no hard rules. I generally shoot my flash manually (takes a lot of practice) and then you can move your shutter all over the place.

    When it comes to family "events" I find those the hardest and probably the worst examples of my work. Family tends not to see you as a "professional" that must have room to get the shots. That is just normal.

    If you want to post some photos - some may be able to see and give some suggestions what might work better. Make sure if you do, to leave all the EXIF data in the images or post the settings with the photos.
    •Formerly TTJ•
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